Talikud Island is a popular destination for its excellent diving sites and beautiful palm-lined beaches. It is located south-west of Samal Island where the exclusive Pearl Farm Island Resort spreads along its picturesque bay. Although Talikud Island is still in its initial stage in terms of development of its tourist facilities, it boasts two of the best diving sites in the Davao Gulf – Coral Garden and Mansud Wall. There are also laid-back tropical beaches sprawled around the coast of its four barangays.
On our third day in Davao, our group signed up for an Introductory Scuba diving course at Davao Scuba Dive Center located near Sta Ana Wharf. It’s a basic 30-minute course covering breathing, equalizing pressure and communicating with hand signals underwater under the guidance of a licensed diver. The rest of the complicated stuff like navigation, buoyancy control, oxygen and depth monitoring were taken cared of by our guide. We paid 750 each for the whole package that includes the round trip boat-ride, diving equipment, use of snorkeling gear, instructor fee and some underwater photos.
On our way to Sta Ana Wharf, we dropped-by at Luz Kinilaw Place to buy some of Davao’s cheap and delicious barbecued seafood for our packed lunch. It was the first time I had the chance to see barbecued tuna roe, tuna intestine, tuna esophagus and other edible tuna parts that I can’t remember anymore. We ordered all of that plus an additional grilled squid and everything was so mouth-watering I wished it was lunch time already. Luz Kinilaw is located opposite the Petron station on Quezon Boulevard along with other inexpensive barbecue stands.
We left the wharf around 8 in the morning after a short briefing at the Scuba Diving Center. We then headed to one of the diving areas around Talikud Island and started our diving lessons there. There are usually two guides per boat giving one-on-one lessons, so while waiting for your turn, you can snorkel around the area or simply have a refreshing swim in the water. Talikud Island has a wide variety of soft and hard coral gardens that are home to numerous species of exotic tropical fish and larger marine life like barracuda, tuna and jacks. Lucky divers can also see fusiliers, sea horse, morays, sea urchins, garden eels, wrasse and parrot fish.
I had a terrible runny nose at that time so I opted to be the last hoping I would get better after a while. Good thing we finally headed to Babu Santa Beach of Talikud Island for our lunch break before continuing our diving session. Approaching the coconut-laden shores with off-white sand glistening in the midday sun while cruising through the different shades of blue water was such a delight. The tropical ambiance made me even hungrier and invited me to just laze on the sand and drift off to sleep. It didn’t take long before we finally dug into our feast of tuna which was laid on one of the bamboo tables under the shade of coconut trees.
After a bit of exploring and a lot of picture-taking, we went back to our boat to continue our diving sessions, this time at the Coral Garden. The water is so clear you don’t even have to snorkel to see the fish and coral underwater. At least that was a great consolation for me when I finally had to forego taking the lesson because I still wasn’t feeling well. Snorkeling and diving around Talikud Island is indeed delightful for the underwater lovers while basking under the sun on its pristine white-sand beaches will not disappoint the beach bums who like to avoid over-developed and tourist-y beach getaways.
HOW TO GET TO TALIKUD ISLAND
Boats for Talikud Island leave every morning around 6am, 7am and 9am (P50) from Santa Ana Wharf in Davao and the trip takes around 30-45 minutes. Departure times are not fixed – you just have to ask around a lot.
PLACES TO STAY
Isla Reta Beach Resort – Basic bamboo and stone cottages located on peaceful white sand beach on the central coast just south of Sta Cruz – Admission 75. Cottage/fan PhP700 and PhP800. Tel (082 -2347903)
Babu Santa Resort – a few minute motorcycle ride from Talicud proper going to Babu Santa Beach Resort. Another white-sand beach with a serene environment with basic room accommodation. You may have to bring extra water and flashlight though because it has limited electricity and water.
Pacific Little Secret – located at Talikud Island of IGACOS and it’s only 50 minutes away from Davao International Airport. Contact: (082) 235 1325
Dayang Beach Resort – affordable beach resort with very basic accommodation. Cottages rate start at PhP 250.
Leticia by the Sea- Talicud Island, Contact No: +63(82) 224-0501, Mobile No: +63(917) 702-5427, firstname.lastname@example.org
DIVE SITES at TALIKUD ISLAND
Mansud Wall: This site is located to the north of Talikud Island and drops off to 45m. An excellent variety of corals can be found here and it is the home to a variety of species of smaller tropical fish. Whip corals, gorgonians, large sponges and soft corals can be seen at this site. Divers will also encounter lionfish, razorfish, juvenile sweet-lips, seasnakes, and colourful reef fishes. If you’re lucky, you will encounter turtles, whale sharks and even sighting of a dugong.
Coral Gardens: This dive site is located on the west coast of the island. Coral Gardens is also known as “Linosutan”, the name of the barrio fronting the site on Talikud Island. This site has a sandy bottom slopes. There is an excellent variety of soft and hard corals which house plenty of exotic tropical fish such as garden eels, wrasse and parrotfish. The diver will also encounter lots of anemones with resident fish and shrimps, anthias, damselfish, fusiliers, butterfly fish, tube worms, sea stars, and sponges. Enjoy watching the ribbon eels, cautiously eyeing you and the flounders covering themselves with sand.
Isla Reta – located on the east coast of the island, this sandy slope to 30m is inhabited by fusiliers, sea horse, morays and sea urchins, among others.
Talisay Wall and Dapia Reef – divers have the opportunity to see larger marine life at this site, and a there are regular sightings of barracuda, tuna and jacks.